Introduction: Batty Moon

Bats flying in front of a full moon--a Halloween decoration.

Materials needed: a 4x4 piece of plywood, metal/plastic/wire to attach the bats, staples, paint, fishing line.

Tools used: pencil, thumbtack, string, jigsaw, sandpaper, paintbrush, metal snips or scissors, staple gun, drill.

Distraction: my 3-year-old dog, Biscuit

Step 1: Draw and Cut Out Circle for the Moon.

Draw a circle on a 4x4 piece of plywood. (Attach a string to a thumbtack and stick the tack in the middle of the board. Attach the loose end of the string to a pencil and pull it tight. Make a circle by rotating the pencil around the board, keeping the string taut.)

Step 2: Cut Out the Moon.

With the jigsaw, cut out the circle, but don't cut through the corners--they will become the bats.

Step 3: Draw and Cut Out Bats.

Using the 4 corner pieces left over from cutting out the circle, draw 4 bats. Using a jigsaw, cut out the bats.

Step 4: Sanding.

Sand the moon and bats. It doesn't have to be puppy-belly smooth, but do sand the wood a little.

Step 5: Retrieve Stolen Bat (if Applicable)

If your dog (cat, spouse, child, neighbor, zombie, etc.) steals your bat, get it back! If damage is extensive, use less bats on your moon.

Step 6: Apply Primer.

Apply a primer coat to the wooden pieces.

Step 7: Paint.

Paint the bats black. If you are going to attach all the bats to the moon, there's no need to paint the backs. (Option: If you'd like a separate, free-hanging bat, then paint both sides.)

The moon will have a front and a back, so you probaly should paint both sides, unless you are going to put it against a wall.

I really wanted a glow-in-the-dark moon. Unfortunately, the paint I purchased has a very short-lived glow effect. To use it, paint the moon bright white. Alternately, you could paint the moon flourescent green and maybe get a better result.

Another possibility: When I used a darker plywood, I took a rag and swirled circles onto the moon to make it look realistic. I liked the effect.

Step 8: Optional: Glow-in-the-dark Moon

Apply a coat of paint to a white background. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. (The directions said to use 2 coats--I wasn't satisfied with the results, so I used four.) The paint is almost like a glaze--it's a transparent pale yellow-green color.

After "charging" the moon under a bright light, it looks great--for the first 5 seconds. It fades superfast and for me, the results were disappointing--much too disappointing to suggest you invest 8 bucks in a tiny jar of the stuff. (Let me know if you have better luck finding a glow-in-the-dark paint that holds its glow.)

Step 9: Optional: Eyeballs

If you want a more playful look, glue googly eyes to your bats. I also made my own bat eyeballs out of polymer clay.

Step 10: Choose How to Attach Bats.

You may want to use 1, 2, 3, or 4 bats on the moon. To give the decoration depth, I glued one bat to the moon and made 3 "dangling" bats. You may want 2 flat and 2 dangling. See what looks best to you.

For the dangling bats, strips of metal worked best for me. However, you could use wire, or cut a sturdy plastic bottle into strips. The length should be about 8 inches and the width should be a little skinnier than the staple.

Step 11: Attach Hanger to Bats.

Staple strip/wire to the back of the bat.

Step 12: Attach Bats to the Moon.

Before you start attaching the bats to the moon, arrange the bats to find a good placement. When you're satisfied, staple the dangling bat(s) to the moon and glue on any flat bat(s). You may have to bend or loop the strip to get the right effect. Play with it until you have the look you want.

Step 13: Drill Holes in the Moon.

With the bats attached (make sure any glued bats have dried), hold the moon up by squeezing it with your thumb and finger to find a good balance. Let it swing a little between your fingers to determine where to drill the holes for the fishing line. When you determine the center, drill a hole on each side of it, about 6 inches apart.

Step 14: Put Fishing Line on the Moon.

Thread the line through both holes and tie the ends together (I used a fisherman's knot, but that's a whole 'nother instructable).

Step 15: Optional: Test Glow-in-the-dark Feature

Take the moon to a dark room. Shine a bright light on the moon. Turn out the lights. "Oooooohhh" and "Ahhhhhh" as appropriate.

Step 16: Hang the Moon and Enjoy!

Find a good place for your decoration and hang it up. (My neighbor's cat seems to like it!)
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